Saturday, July 18, 2009

BECAYE AW - Sibi (Etnisk Musikklub)

Becaye Aw is another musician from the school of less-is-more. He’s a Mauritanian who grew up in Senegal’s capital Dakar, and part of his apprenticeship was spent playing with the likes of Baaba Maal and Ali Farka Touré. It’s no surprise then to find that his debut release is a confidently delivered acoustic album with strong melodies and a sharp blues tinge. Vocally, Becaye lacks the clarity of Baaba, or the sweetness of compatriot Daby Touré. But his uniform, gritty voice has some depth, albeit almost seeming to work against the melodies rather than riding them. It’s his guitar work that really stands out, though; light, intricate, full of shifts in melody and phrasing, a stunning imitation of the kora in places, and always economical in its expression. A group of accomplished Norwegian musicians fills out this set of assured, mostly original songs. Olav Torpet is particularly impressive on hoddu (harp-lute), deploying a measured sound that is equal parts dry, scratchy rhythm and sharp, plucked melody. Sukaabe is the standout track, not least because it contains a gorgeous soulful vocal duet with (presumably Becaye’s wife?) Leni Banel Aw – more from her please next time round!


Anonymous said...

I just found Sibi in my mailbox and was on track #4 - Soukaabe, when I read your review. So far I agree with what you have written. You can, however, not presume that Haddy N'jie is Becaye Aw's wife.
I don't know who she is married to. She is a Norwegian journalist, writer, actor, singer-song-writer with a father from Cap Verde/Gambia. Her 2007 recordind "Welcome Home" is very good. You may think about Joan Armatrading, Tom Waitts and others.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about Leni Banel Aw, I just recognized Haddy Njie's voice right away. Sukaabe contains a gorgeous duet with Haddy Njie.